S02E03: On the Politics of Waste, Race, and Disposability with Mohammed Rafi Arefin

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Mohammed Rafi Arefin, an urban geographer and 2021 Wall Scholar, joins 2020 Wall Scholars Y-Dang Troeung and M. V. Ramana to take us on a fascinating journey through the often overlooked topic of waste. Their conversation discusses the ethics of waste surveillance and pans out to view waste as a product of a much broader system of power, politics and inequality.

Dr. Arefin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia researching and teaching on urban environmental politics. His current research on the historical development and contemporary politics of Cairo’s solid waste and sewage systems has appeared in the journals Antipode, Progress in Human Geography, and the Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

This episode was produced remotely with Drs. Arefin, Troeung, and Ramana recording from separate locations.

Read the episode transcript

Links to content mentioned in this episode:

Discard Studies

Vinay Gidwani and Rajyashree N. Reddy, The Afterlives of “Waste”: Notes from India for a Minor History of Capitalist Surplus

Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger 

Max Liboiron, Pollution is Colonialism

More information about Dr. Arefin

Infrastructural Discontent in the Sanitary City: Waste, Revolt, and Repression in Cairo

The State, Sewers, and Security: How Does the Egyptian State Reframe Environmental Disasters as Terrorist Threats?

More information about Dr. Troeung

More information about Dr. Ramana

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